June 19, 2020
The IWPC is deeply concerned at the registering of an FIR against colleague, journalist Supriya Sharma for carrying out her professional duty. Supriya, who works for web news journal ‘Scroll’ has been booked by the Uttar Pradesh Police under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and imposing IPC sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 501 (printing matter that is defamatory) for writing about alleged hardships faced by a woman residing in a village in the constituency of PM Narendra Modi during the lockdown. Scroll stands by the story and has stated that it is based on an interview with the woman concerned.
The IWPC views the FIR as another attempt to intimidate journalists and prevent them from highlighting news that is uncomfortable to the powers that be. The IWPC reiterates that it is the job of journalists to show truth to power so that the government can take remedial action and redress all wrongs. Instead, many governments are increasingly using state machinery to shoot the messenger with intimidation and harassment.
A recent FIR against veteran journalist Vinod Dua exposes the trend adopted by authorities to silence journalists. The IWPC has full faith in the judicial system and hopes this FIR against Supriya will not be entertained by the relevant courts and journalists will continue to have the freedom to expose the suffering of people and irregularities in the system.
Jyoti Malhotra Vineeta Pandey
(President) (General Secretary)